Why Do People Cut Themselves?

Hardships can be experienced by people all over the world but some people feel compelled to cut themselves to deal with the emotional tension. Although cutting may seem bizarre, this condition is quite common. Further exploration about why people resort to self-harm may help to provide a deeper understanding.

What is Cutting?

Cutting refers to any type of self-injury that is both deliberate and non-suicidal. Despite its name, cutting can also include burning, hair-pulling, or repeatedly hitting themselves. Although cutting may seem a bit suicidal, cutters generally do these things as a way to escape numbness and feel alive.

Why Self-Harm?

Some people cut to instantly relieve themselves of emotional pain. Cutting has also been used as a way to deal with harsh self-criticism. People that cut for this reason are usually dissatisfied with themselves in some way and often carve negative or critical words into their skin. Those that have been through some type of trauma use cutting as a way to gain a sense of control over their pain. Some households view painful emotions as signs of weakness which can lead to the teasing or dismissal of those that express such feelings. In these cases, individuals feel unable to confide in those close to them and resort to physical pain as a coping mechanism.

Links to Mental Health

Psychology Today explains that cutting often leads to compulsive behavior because the brain is associating the pain of cutting with relief. This is very similar to the way that people suffering from bulimia refer to purging. Mental health problems including bipolar disorder, depression, and obsessive thinking tend to make a person feel as though they have no control over their bodies and may contribute to the desire to cut. However, these mental health issues are not always present in a person that struggles with cutting.

Events that Trigger Cutting

Whether the person has experienced some kind of break-up or the death of a loved one, the urges to cut can be triggered by the loss of someone close. The urge can also be triggered any time there’s a build up of emotional tension if the individual doesn’t have the necessary coping skills. Traumatic experiences like abuse or some type of disaster can also compel a person to cut themselves. It could be a way to get rid of the numbness they feel or to relive the pain that they had already gone through.

How to Stop Cutting

Cutting is an unhealthy coping mechanism that can lead to permanent damage to the mind and body. A person that struggles with cutting should ask for help from someone that they trust or a mental health professional. Identifying the source of the problem can help the individual to heal emotionally and find a healthy way to cope.

Cutting can feel quite addictive and might be rather difficult to stop. Although it may be a very intimidating topic to talk about, anyone struggling with this issue should seek help.